Does Barbara Walters Love Xenu?

Is Barbara Walters a secret Scientologist? That might be going a little far, but the seasoned journalist is being criticized for defending the controversial religion by a woman who barely escaped — and happens to be the leader's niece.

Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters is under fire for defending Scientology practices on The View this week.

While discussing how Jaden Smith — who attended a school whose curriculum was based on Scientology teachings — encouraged kids to drop out to improve society, Walters defended the educational practices of the controversial religion.

"I'm not going to speak about Scientology in general, but Scientology has a pretty good educational program," Walters said. "They're not telling people to drop out."

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"I have been to some of the Scientology schools and some of their education programs are very good," she continued. "The last thing I want to do is to argue about Scientology."

But Jenna Miscavige Hill, the niece of Scientology leader David Miscavige and author of Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape, begs to differ. She appeared on The View last February to discuss her book and revealed she was pulled out of school and forced into construction work, and has now released a statement slamming Walters for her "ignorant" opinion.

"With all due respect, saying that Scientology has a very good education system is an incredibly ignorant and irresponsible thing to say on your platform and for that reason I feel that I have to say something about it," she said in a statement to the Scientology watchdog website The Underground Bunker.

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"The leader of Scientology, Tom Cruise's best man, my uncle David Miscavige, is a high school dropout. What does that say about the value Scientology puts on education? Is this not what Jaden Smith is advocating?"

"…I myself was born into Scientology. And instead of being properly educated, I was indoctrinated into Scientology and made to do heavy labor daily from the age of six years old. I have no high school education, and college was never even a vague possibility for me until I escaped," Miscavige continued.

"I don't know what propaganda you have seen or what your celebrity advocate friends have told you, but it's time to look a little deeper. If you don't want to know the truth (which I gather is the case from you saying you 'don't want to talk about Scientology') then please refrain from praising a system you clearly know nothing about."

"Although Scientology's educational system is one of its most disconcerting aspects because it involves children, it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Scientology's deception and abuse."

Walters, well known for her celebrity interviews, has friendly relationships with many Hollywood Scientologists, most notably Tom Cruise.

Image courtesy HRC/

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Comments on "Barbara Walters slammed for Scientology defense"

onlythestrong October 01, 2013 | 1:25 PM

Ms. Walters says she has visited some of the Scientology schools and believes that they have a good educational system. She is allowed to have an opinion based on what she has seen and should not be trashed because someone else differs.

stillgrace September 21, 2013 | 2:54 PM

Mred- nice try with your efforts to defend the reprehensible and criminal organization know as scientology. But I have to warn you. All this OSA "first amendment" crap doesn't hold a drop of water, and is very old by now. Tell David Miscavige he needs to come up with something better. We are on to you and your tactics.

sarah September 21, 2013 | 2:45 PM

Does she drink the kool-aid? David Miscavige would love to have her money.

Eclipse-girl September 21, 2013 | 2:38 PM

Mred, this is not about the first amendment. No one denies the $cientologists there belief in space aliens and a galactic overlord, and reincarnation. What we are against is the criminal activity that the Co$ has been involved with. You should look into "Operation Freakout" That is just one example of "Fair Game" You should look intp Operations Snow White, when $cientology infiltrated the government, in order to force the IRS to give it Tax - Free status. Perhaps you should read accounts of people who had to ESCAPE because they were being held against their will. Perhaps you should read accounts of how MINORS are asked to sign contracts , and encouraged to leave HS to work for the church.

Artoo45 September 21, 2013 | 12:15 PM

Oh Mred, honey, I don't thing the stats are going your way. Remember the good old days, when people would defend the cult's right to its harmless beliefs? Go find any comment thread in any article about the cult. I dare you. The only theta on those lines is from OSA. These are the cult's end times, be a love and turn out the light when you lock up.

Starlanique September 21, 2013 | 7:15 AM

Mred, I don't think you understand the 1st Amendment at all. You have a right to your effed up beliefs and to support things that go on in Scientology like child labor, physical abuse, extortion, disconnection, fair gaming/stalking critics ... and the rest of us have a right to speak out against those things. See how that goes?

Harry September 20, 2013 | 8:26 PM

"It seems anti-scios really don't like the first amendment..." First amendment wasn't about restricting human rights, like the right to an education, the right to speak to your family, the right to have children (not to be made to abort them), freedom from mental duress. Are you following the Hubbard rule of communication: never defend, always attack ?

Betsey Piacente September 20, 2013 | 5:47 PM

Jenna is absolutely correct to underscore this point about education within scientology's system! Children are considered old souls in new bodies who have already had enough education, and now need scientology basics only. The idea of college is sneered at, and reading anything other than Hubbard's drivel is considered a waste of time. Yes, elementary reading/writing skills are important to them, so that none of the founder's "wisdom" is beyond reach. Critical thinking is discouraged, robotic thinking is enforced by intimidation and manipulation of truth. All the best to you, Jenna-- a true hero!

Mred September 20, 2013 | 4:55 PM

It seems anti-scios really don't like the first amendment...

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